Week Adjourned 5.1.09

It’s been a busy week…

Top Class-Actions: Chinese Drywall, Park West Gallery, Mercedes-Benz

Oh, if these walls could talk. Some good news for homeowners who have found themselves victims of Chinese drywall. The Chinese drywall fiasco is generating a lot of activity, including a class action lawsuit filed on April 24th, by a couple in Florida against Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, and 84 Lumber. The suit alleges the companies sold sulphur-contaminated drywall and timber. Ironically, the products were touted as being ‘green’.

A caution was also added to drywall media mix by Florida’s attorney general, who issued a warning about scam artists out to make a buck off unsuspecting homeowners. Apparently the scams include selling costly or bogus home inspection kits, chemical cleaners and ozone generators.

Who are the targets? Homeowners who worry they may have defective Chinese drywall.

Counterfeit Cruises? Speaking of deceptive business practices, a class action lawsuit was filed against an art auctions dealer that operates on the major cruise lines, including Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Oceana, Disney and Holland America. It seems there really is no escape. Park West Gallery, Inc., is being sued for allegedly selling unsuspecting customers knock-offs, or art that in no way would increase in value as predicted by the dealers. Not a pretty picture (ok, ok, the pun was there and I took it…)

Get with the program, Mercedes. The up-to-date one. Mercedes Benz has also allegedly been at it, and now faces a class action over promotion of its Tele Aid emergency response system (ERS). Apparently Mercedes knew the ERS system functioned on soon-to-be obsolete technology but promoted the installation of the system for several years anyway.

These are just some of nearly a dozen new suits we covered this week. Busy.

Top Settlements: Aerotek, Pfizer Bextra & Celebrex (proposed)

Getting their due. Good news for ex-employees of Aerotek this week, though. They seem to have settled their class action over not paying accrued leave when they let staff go. No doubt managers at Starbucks in Florida would be happy with a similar outcome. They’ve just filed a suit against the java giant alleging they’re not being adequately compensated for overtime. And they’re not the only ones. IT techs and laborers in California seem to have constant struggles with labor law violations regarding overtime.

You want me to pay more for…? The big winners this week seem to be consumers who paid too much for Bextra and Celebrex. A settlement has been proposed for $89 million, which, if approved, would go towards reimbursement of costs people paid for the drugs purchased before July 29, 2005.

On tap for next week…

How not to lose weight. Something worth watching over the coming week will be the fallout over liver damage sustained by people who used Hydroxycut diet supplements. While the FDA issued a warning this week not to use the product, for some reason they didn’t put anything out until they had 23 reports of ‘serious health problems’ which include one death and reports of seizures, jaundice and muscle damage and a liver transplant! Serious might be an understatement here. A class action on this one is almost certain.

More to come next week. See you at the bar (yeah, that one).

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